Germany Plans Highway Tolls in 2014
An agreement that will keep German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party in power with a “grand coalition” with the opposition Social Democrats may result in the introduction of highway tolls next year in the country. The plan would have to be approved by the European Union.
Germany is the only country in Central Europe where driving on the highway is free. Drivers in neighboring countries, including Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Switzerland, already pay tolls through the purchase of a Vignette or toll sticker, as do visitors to those countries. France, Italy, and Spain operate toll roads but do not require a Vignette.
The plan may face additional scrutiny as German taxpayers may be able to obtain tax credits or reductions in their vehicle registration fees to offset the toll fee, meaning that visitors and non-residents will feel the brunt of the cost. Visitors will, however, be able to purchase a Vignette for a shorter period of time, such as a week or month, similar to what is available in Austria.
Some drivers in the Czech Republic who frequently traverse Germany to reach the Alps or Adriatic coast are already voicing opposition to the imposition of a toll and planning to bypass German roads with slower but less expensive routes, according to an article in Mlada Fronta Dnes, a Czech newspaper.
(Photo: Accura Media Group)